Winter is a good time to really think about the future. Staying indoors more often because of the cold, trying to figure out what you want to do in the new year, it gives you lots of time to reason with yourself. As I chip away at my novella, I start to think about some of the fears underneath there.
I almost feel like I’m cheating with my 1,000 words a day approach to my novella. You see, as I’ve reread the first draft, I’ve discovered that quite a bit of it is salvageable. Thus I’ve been able to lift lines and simply copy over sentences and sometimes paragraphs from the original draft. At the moment, I’m at 5,000 words, so it’s a good time to review everything I’ve written thus far, make corrections, added a few more lines, and then get back to writing. I think I’ll call this method the tally-mark method. Five 1,000 word chunks, and you review as you scratch the fifth.
But while lines of prose have been both created and copied over, my best news is that I found a way to really beef up the plot some. Not only does it set the ground work for a better story, the new character and additional plot twist he brings adds some flavor. I still need to sort out the details, but there’s a lot of promise here.
Although I’ve already got a publisher I plan to pitch this story too, I’m also jotting down random ideas for the next novel or novella. That was all part of my approach: Write short stories first. As I obtain success with that, slowly work your way into doing a novella. After a few of those, do a novel. I think it’s very rare when a would-be author comes up and says “I’ve got a plan when it comes to getting published.” And even more rare when that plan, at least thus far, seems to slowly be working.
Single Vs Multi Author Anthologies
After reading various reviews, I’ve noticed that many fantasy and sci-fi readers really don’t seem to like the short story anthology approach from a single author. They often prefer a single, longer and more grand story to a dozen little tales. They’re more forgiving of anthologies from multiple authors. My guess is that they like the variety and the chance to ‘sample’ several authors at once, where as they expect more if it’s just from one.
Also, multiple authors have the benefits of a very expanded ‘social network’ of people they can tap into. Thus banding together is really useful for the starting author types. If twelve unknown authors can mention their collective work on Twitter and Facebook, their word will reach much further than any single author. It seems that cooperation pays.
I understand the frustrations of SAAs, to be honest. Reading Robert E. Howard’s anthologies, the tales gradually got better the closer you got to the end of each individual tale. But when it ended, Howard started the details from the beginning, which got very tiring. This happened because Conan was published in magazine installments, so the transition to an anthological book tended to result in many details being described again and again.
As I consider this, I begin to scratch off plans to release my own single author anthology. I decide instead that it would be better to keep them available for multi-author anthologies, after some re-writes. Or, push them out as their own novellas after some rewrites.
P.S. I’ve posted something on the Bolthole about this for discussion. It will make interesting business talk.